Cardiovascular, Hematology, Oncology
2015 Harrington Scholar-Innovator
In 1970, after seeing a patient who’d had a stroke with an artificial heart valve at the New York University School of Medicine Dr. Coller was intrigued. He noticed that the patient was being treated with warfarin, so Dr. Coller began to look deeper into the role of platelets in strokes. He began studying under Marjorie Zucker, PhD, an internationally renowned platelet expert at NYU, thus beginning a lifelong research interest in studying the receptors responsible for platelet aggregation. By 2015, he had developed a pre-clinical molecule called RUC-4 in collaboration with Martha Filazzola’s lab at Mt. Sinai and Craig Thomas at the NIH. Dr. Coller believed that RUC-4 could be used as a prehospital treatment for patients experiencing a heart attack.
The scientific basis for Dr. Coller’s work on the small molecule RUC-4, was that it would prevent platelets from aggregating and forming clots, and might be administered to prevent fatal heart attacks even before the patient arrived in the hospital.
After receiving the Harrington Scholar-Innovator grant in 2015, Dr. Coller’s Harrington Therapeutics Development Center experts provided critical advice on how to go about administering the drug in an ambulance, and suggested that he switching from intramuscular to subcutaneous delivery. He then conducted a successful pre-clinical study in non-human primates, which enabled an application to the FDA for a human clinical study.
After the pre-clinical work Dr. Coller performed during his term with Harrington, RUC-4 was licensed by Rockefeller University to CeleCor Therapeutics, which has worked with Dr. Coller on further development. The drug progressed through IND to a phase 1 study in healthy volunteers and patients with stable coronary artery disease who are taking aspirin.
After the phase 1 study, RUC-4 progressed to a phase 2A study in patients with ST segment elevation and myocardial infarction (STEMI), and has recently begun a phase 2B study to evaluate its safety and potential efficacy as a prehospital treatment for STEMI patients in the ambulance.
“The Harrington program is fantastic. It gives academic investigators an opportunity to
really learn a lot more about the real drug development issues—things that academics
have relatively little connection to.”